"The Wicker Man"
"The Wicker Man"

Rialto Pictures has announced the upcoming US release of "The Wicker Man -- The Final Cut," the definitive version of Robin Hardy's 1973 cult horror classic of Pagan worshippers on a remote Scottish island, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The new StudioCanal cut is the culmination of a long, Facebook-conducted search for the complete director's version.

Wicker Man

As a bit of background, the 1973 released cut of "The Wicker Man," shown on a double bill with Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now," was significantly shorter than director Hardy's original vision. The negatives disappeared from storage at Shepperton Studios, and were allegedly used as landfill in the construction of the nearby M4 motorway, and have been deemed lost. 

In May of this year, StudioCanal launched a worldwide appeal to film collectors, historians, programmers and fans to come forward with any information relating to whereabouts of the fim's original materials. "I never thought that, after forty years, they would still be finding lost fragments of my film," said Hardy as the search was being conducted. "We thought all of 'The Wicker Man' had gone up in flames, but fragments keep turning up and the hunt goes on!"

More details on the various cuts of the film are here.

Rialto will begin the roll-out at New York's IFC Center on September 27, with releases in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and other cities to follow later in the fall.